Why A Literature Major?

Pitt-Greensburg student reading in library

Defining YOUR path to success across multiple disciplines.

You might major in English Literature because you love to read, or because you want to work in editing or publishing, or to teach English. You might want to work professionally with books and seek employment in libraries or research archives, including the many new on-line research databases of literary, historical, and cultural materials. However, there are many other practical benefits of English Literature coursework, and the major is known for its adaptability to a wide range of careers. This is because Literature majors develop distinctive and highly valued skills in analyzing texts, in exploring complex situations from multiple points of view, and in writing with clarity, grace, and precision. Did you know that English Literature majors often succeed in law school, medical fields, public relations, business management, and specialized government work?

Pitt-Greensburg's Literature majors have an unusual advantage, because they have opportunities to learn digital skills and apply them to creative, leading-edge research and coursework in Digital Humanities, through the Digital Studies Certificate program pioneered by our Literature faculty. In our Digital Humanities courses, students learn methods in digital textual scholarship to make rare or difficult-to-access texts available for study, for digital annotation, mapping, and quantitative analysis. Our faculty share their Digital Humanities research and project design with students in our regular Literature course offerings, too. For example, in the History of the English Language course, students learn how to apply "data-mining" methods to Pitt's Digital Library databases in order to track histories of word usage over centuries. The computer becomes our research instrument, and our students learn to use computers to read, graph, and chart patterns in literary texts that would not be available to us working with unaided human eyes alone.

Waterman Ink Ad, circa 1910, reading "For School Life or LIfe's School"

There are many ways to be an English Literature major at Pitt-Greensburg, since our major combines well with many different fields of study. For example, Literature majors might look for opportunities to combine humanities and natural sciences courses, and to build on our strengths in Digital Humanities here, some of our Literature majors might wish to pursue a minor in Computer Science. Such combinations can lead to distinctive employment or graduate training opportunities in museums and libraries, in legal or corporate archives, as well as in science writing, consumer advocacy, and environmental law. In recent years, our students have coordinated the Literature major with minors or area concentrations in a wide range of disciplines, including English Writing, Philosophy, Psychology, Spanish, History, History of Art & Architecture, and Theatre, among others. We offer a minor in English Literature and contribute to the Children's Literature Certificate Program, as well as the Gender Studies minor and the interdisciplinary American Studies and Humanities Area Concentration majors. Students aiming to teach high school English can pursue a combined Literature and Education major (which involves taking a specific selection of core and elective classes), or they can choose to pursue the English Literature major in conjunction with the Education minor. For more information, please see the Education website.